U.S. Army General and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley touched down in Israel on Sunday morning to begin a series of meetings with senior Israel Defense Forces leaders.
The top U.S. general is visiting Tel Aviv amid heightened tensions with Iran across the Middle East. This is Milley’s first visit to Israel since assuming his position in October.
He began his trip by meeting with his Israeli counterpart Lt. Gen. Aviv Kohavi.
The general’s arrival comes as part of a series of visits by several high ranking military chiefs including the head of the U.S. Air Force Gen. David Goldfien, USAFE (United States Air Forces in Europe – Air Forces Africa) Commander Gen. Jeffery L. Harrigian and the Commander of U.S .Central Command (CENTCOM) Gen. Kenneth McKenzie.
Israel’s military said in a statement that Milley’s visit was a sign of “the depth of the partnership between the forces and its importance in promoting regional stability.”
Today, the IDF Chief of General Staff LTG Aviv Kohavi met with the Chairman of the @thejointstaff, Gen. Mark A. Milley in Israel. The two discussed current operational issues & regional developments.
— Israel Defense Forces (@IDF) November 24, 2019
Last week, Israel struck dozens of Iranian targets in neighboring Syria in response to rockets at the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights a day before.
Iran has forces based in Syria, Israel’s northern neighbor, and supports Hezbollah terrorists in Lebanon. In Gaza, it supplies Islamic Jihad terrorists with cash, weapons and expertise.
The strikes were the latest Israeli attack against Iran-linked targets in Syria in recent years. Israel has warned against a permanent Iranian presence near the frontier as has the U.S. which recently announced a new disposition of forces across the area:
Meanwhile, the commander of the U.S. Central Command has declared it “very possible” Iran will attack its neighbors once again, following the September 14 strike on Saudi Arabia’s oil facilities.
General Kenneth McKenzie warned in a Friday interview with Foreign Policy Tehran is continuously undermining stability in the Middle East and said the strike on Saudi Aramco “is pretty indicative of a nation that is behaving irresponsibly,”
“My judgment is that it is very possible they will attack again,” he added.
AP contributed to this report